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“Go for the view, not the food” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cliff House

Cliff House
331 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98225-5325
360-734-8660
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Ranked #122 of 394 Restaurants in Bellingham
Price range: $0 - $30
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Bellingham, Washington
Top Contributor
272 reviews 272 reviews
194 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
193 helpful votes 193 helpful votes
“Go for the view, not the food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

Cliff House is a dated, throwback kind of place tucked off the beaten path in a residential neighborhood. The best thing it offers is the view. The next best thing would be a perfectly grilled steak or chunk of fresh fish, which they do very well.

After that it's downhill.

And that's because this is a Hunk O' Meat (well, or fish) restaurant at heart. You choose your meat and then you choose your carbs from the usual suspects of rice and baked potato. It is NOT a chef's restaurant, not a place where dishes are carefully composed from the best local ingredients. The few specials they do offer in an attempt at upscale combining have been in my experience heavy/clumsy--usually a baked fish of some kind buried under a sauce tasting of a Knorr's package mix bulked out with extra cream, cheese and butter.

The whisky crab soup is famous here, but I think that owes a lot to the fact that if you order the soup then you're saved the embarrassment of making the trip to the salad bar. Yes, a salad bar. Like at The Sizzler. You thought there weren't any more salad bars, but you're wrong! The Tradition That Never Should Have Been is alive and well at The Cliff House, complete with all the cliche components: the manufactured salad dressings, croutons out of a box, and the glass "sneeze plate" that's supposed to catch all the germs being spewed by your not-so-well fellow diners.

Ewwwwwww.

So go for the view. Go for the full-service bar. Go for a great piece of fresh grilled salmon and the whiskey crab soup. Or go because you live down the street and it's close.

Just don't expect great dining, because it's not here.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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84 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Victoria, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Million dollar view and prices to match”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

If only the food and service matched the view. My wife had the whiskey crab soup and the halibut. I had baked oyster and a shellfish medley in wine sauce. Every dish was a pale imitation of what you find in a good seafood restaurant. Bland boring and overpriced. Very overpriced. We spent double or triple what we are paying in Phoenix restaurants. And we are getting better seafood here. Stay away

  • Visited October 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Mixed Blessing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

We met friends at the Cliff House, a restaurant we've frequented for years for a nice dinner. One couple made the reservations and informed the staff we would be requesting separate checks. when we arrive the waitperson resisted the separate check idea and acted kind of snippy throughout the evening. She tried to keep all the orders straight by memory and that didn't work, as we had a terrible time with the checks at the end (wrong items on checks, etc.) she had to redo the checks several time before she got them right and gave us an attitude.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shakopee, Minnesota
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Not Again”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

Do not go here if you have more than four in your party. They only have two tables for large groups and both are buried in the back corner with the chairs touching each other. They could do better but they are not very accommodating when it comes to seating.

The food is average for the price range but I would avoid the whisky soup, tasted like warmed "cheese wiz". The Bar needs improvement also, they were out of some beers and the drinks were extremely watered down.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington State
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Never again!!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Ive commented on the Cliff house before. Ive been going there since the early '70's when it opened as the Cliff House.

In my last review I said give it a chance as it has THE million dollar view of Bellingham Bay and BC's Coast Range.

I now say FORGET IT!

Its TOO Expensive for what you get. The owner is out of touch with the locals and seems to think the sky's the limit for pricing.

Go to Anthony's or the Hearthfire for a better meal and treatment by the management!

  • Visited August 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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